Rhythmic excitement was a prominent feature: the two Latin American dances by D'Rivera fizzed with raw energy and jazzy syncopations; Gate, by Graham Fitkin, exploded with a relentless and compelling rhythmic vitality.
The artists could be more restrained, however, and showed how in tune they were with the classical lines of Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata (with some astonishing breath control) and the romantic sensuousness of Ravel's Pièce en Forme de Habanera.
Dazzling virtuosity combined with almost telepathic communication between the artists made this an unusually exhilarating concert."
William Ruff, Nottingham Evening Post
"Clarinet quintets aren't so plentiful that Weber's deserves its comparative neglect - it's surely one of the best things he ever wrote, and the clarinet's blend of dazzle and poetry suits his style perfectly. It also suits Stuart Eminson perfectly, indeed it's hard to imagine a more stylish and satisfying performance than the one he gave on 24th February 2008 in the Colour House Theatre, Merton Abbey Mills.
Eminson's virtuosity is remarkable, but even more notable is the drama, imagination and spontaneity of his playing. After the classical purity of the first half, he showed his full range of tone and colour in the second, with contemporary pieces by Graham Fitkin and Takashi Yoshimatsu. The latter's "Fuzzy Bird Sonata" is a striking and utterly audience-friendly mix of Messiaen with jazz, and Eminson's charismatic performance convinced us the instrument was an extension of his very self - now singing, now speaking, now caressing, now screaming, now smouldering, now dancing, now whispering almost below the threshold of audibility. Truly a performance to remember from a clarinettist to watch, and wonderfully accompanied by his duo partner, pianist Claire Capps."
In October 2006, Stuart was featured in The Classical Music Magazine produced by Rhinegold Publishing Ltd. The article is on his portfolio career as a clarinettist in what is already a fierce and competitive genre of work. Please click the vibrant red link for the article!
"...The Maria Callas of the clarinet..."
The Schubert Society of Great Britain
"...without exception the audience came out spellbound!..."
John Hawks: Music Columnist, Times & Leisure Magazine and Manager of Music Among Friends
Royal Albert Hall
The Balliol Music Society
Letchworth Music Club
"...playing the Strauss Duet-Concertino with Stuart and John was a pleasure from beginning to end. Natural musicianship to the fore, they made light of the work's many difficulties and communicated their love of this neglected work with great charm and conviction..."
Conductor, Levon Parikian
With Schubert and the clarinet on the menu, the "Shepherd on the Rock" was an irresistible finale, in which Stuart and his unfaultable pianist Claire Capps were joined by the ringing soprano of Christina Haldane. Schubert did have the clarinet in mind in this piece, of course, and the Alpine echoes could not have been more captivatingly done. Their encore of Gershwin's "Summertime" reminded you that Stuart is just as capable of hard-toned blue notes, but with all this spectacular sound the most abiding memory has to be his exquisite, whispered pianissimi. What a player this young man is."
John Hawks Music Among Friends